June 2006 Archives

the celebrated mr. k

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Trying to write an organized trip report in chronological order is preventing me from writing one at all. That and the jet lag. (Didn't get to sleep until 1 am last night!) Instead I'm going to try writing about parts of the trip as they occur to me and see how that goes.

So Georg surprised me with tickets to the new Cirque du Soleil show, Love. This makes the fifth Cirque show in Vegas: Mystere, the original; O, with a water theme; Ka, with a fire theme (it also seems to be vaguely Asian from the posters); Zumanity, the "adult" show; and now Love, with a Beatles theme.

Now, I've always wanted to see Cirque du Soleil. Ever since the first time we went to Vegas I've wanted to see them. I never said anything because the tickets are so expensive. Especially that first time, we were broke and stayed at the tiny Algiers motel (gone now, so sad) and only did free things and rode the bus down to Fremont St. because we couldn't afford a taxi, much less a rental car. Expensive show tickets were just not an option. And I never said anything since then because, as I might have mentioned, I'm a cheap bastard.

Lucky for me, Georg is not. And though he had no idea how much I wanted to see Cirque du Soleil, he knew how much I like the Beatles. So he surprised me with tickets to Love. Which was just about perfect. A total surprise, and totally wonderful.

The show is at the Mirage, formerly the home of Sigfried and Roy, and they did it up with a mod theme: a giant Union Jack in the entry, mod bullseyes and Peter Max style murals inside, and cute outfits for the ushers. I had worn my stewardess dress, not thinking that it would be taken as a thematic costume. But I got compliments on my "groovy outfit" from a couple of the ushers (who were also made to put on British accents). Also a patron ran up to me before the show and said she had to know where I got my outfit. When I told her I had made it, she said "I know you did, but when? Nineteen-sixty-when?" I told her I had made it a couple of years ago but it was a 1966 pattern. She said she knew it because she used to make all her own clothes in the 60s and they looked just like my dress.

The show itself was great. Our seats were pretty close, although when we sat down, most of the stage was obscured by a series of hanging scrims. When the actors started to come out I was frustrated because I couldn't see much through the scrims, and thinking to myself that I'd have to be careful not to express my disappointment to Georg because I didn't want to seem ungrateful for such a nice gift. But just when I was thinking that, the scrims dropped and the music started and the stage basically exploded with people dropping from the ceiling and running in from all sides and coming up out of the floor. It was an amazing effect.

The show was full of elaborate staging and acrobatic feats. As I mentioned I had never seen Cirque du Soleil before, so I didn't know what to expect. But I definitely didn't expect them to set up half-pipes so four guys wearing mop-top wigs could skateboard around the stage. Or women hanging from ropes in the lotus position, sitting perfectly straight without using their hands. Or puppeteers with rows of tiny yellow galoshes that stomped in unison. Or a flying bed, or a guy in drag dressed as Queen Elizabeth I, except there was no skirt in back, just the bare pannier. Or a giant parachute-style cloth to briefly cover the stage and much of the audience, including us. I found out later that visual images were projected onto the cloth. I guess that was a special treat for the nosebleed seats.

The logistics of the show boggled the mind. The floor kept going up and down and I think they must have had several different platforms, because they replaced the props so quickly. Or one time they blew bubbles, and you could see that the floor was covered with bubble juice. I know from experience how that stuff gets, especially on a smooth surface. At the end of the number they dropped the floor away, and brought it back perfectly clean and safe for dancing. I don't think there was time to clean the soap off so they must have had another floor.

The props included 2 classic Volkswagon Beetles, and one was wrought iron! Well actually it looked to me like cast iron that had been made to duplicate the wrought iron art car Beetles. But still, it was beautiful. The other Beetle was shiny white, and looked like a late 60s model. It had the completely chrome bumper so it had to be from before the 70s, but the rear window was too large to have been from the 50s. Anyway, the white Beetle looked really nice, but I wondered how they made it go. It appeared to be moving under its own power, but the rear trunk (where the engine would go) was empty. In fact the car looked like most of its innards had been removed, so that dancers could climb in and out from all angles. Maybe they had a small electric engine inside somewhere. Also I think the roof was reinforced, because several times a dancer jumped onto the roof, with no denting or even momentary distortion.

Later on there was a third Beetle, another white one. When it came out I thought it was the same as the first one, but different: the bumper looked dull and the headlights were covered. Just as I was wondering what they had done to it, the Beetle flew apart into a dozen pieces! It was actually a group of dancers carrying Beetle parts on poles, moving in unison so the car appeared to be driving onto the stage like the others. Sort of a puppet, I guess. The parts must have been made out of fiberglass for weight, which is why the bumper and headlights looked funny.

One funny moment was near the beginning, when all the dancers were dressed on mod costumes. There was one woman in an amazing minidress, a black A-line with a high collar and giant yellow polka dots. She had light green tights and match pink cap and boots. Georg leaned over and asked me "did you see that dress?" I told him "Oh yeah, I'm going to be copying that!" She never got as close as I would have liked, but it looked to me like that polka dots were appliqued. They were so big, and fit exactly on the dress, six around from the hem to the bust. I don't see how they could have done that if it was a printed pattern.

Our only quibble was that they mostly played the monster hits -- for instance they played my two least favorite Beatles songs: "Yesterday" and "Hey Jude." We wished they had focused on more lesser-known Beatles songs instead. But as Georg mentioned, they needed to play the big hits to appeal to the Cirque du Soleil fans who might not know a lot of Beatles songs. And I must admit, sad but true, many people seem to genuinely like hearing the same few songs over and over. I don't understand it, but why else would classic hit radio stations like Sunny 93.9 exist.

So anyway, they mainly played the big hit Beatles songs, with a few exceptions like "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite." Which, duh, you couldn't very well do a show about the Beatles with "circus" in the name and not use that song. Then for the hard-core Beatles fans they included snippets of dialogue from studio outtakes that they had gotten from George Martin. Martin also remixed a lot of the music. Which sounds like it might be bad, since so many remixes these days are just taking a good song and ganking an over-aggressive beat onto it and then calling it a remix. But Martin did some interesting things with mixing multiple Beatles songs together. For instance they did a number that was all groovy and psychedelic and Maharishi-y, with "Tomorrow Never Knows" and "Within You Without You" mixed together. And then in the outro I caught a snippet of "The Inner Light" from the Rarities album.

I still wished they had gone for a few less obvious choices in the big numbers. Like instead of doing a performance around "Nowhere Man," they could have played "I'm a Loser" or "It's Getting Better." (Although "It's Getting Better" would require a sense of irony that might be lacking in the typical Vegas audience.) But at the end of the show they gave us a survey which asked for suggestions for improvement, and we were able to suggest a broader range of music and also more early music. Although, as Georg pointed out, it was natural for them to go mainly for the later Beatles songs because those tended to be more theatrical.

Before the show Georg and I talked about when we first started listening to the Beatles, and who were our favorite Beatles. Actually Georg didn't really have a favorite, although like me, Paul was his least favorite. John used to be my favorite, and then I started learning more about him and found out that he was kind of an asshole. I guess junkies can be like that. Then George was my favorite. He gets major coolness points for supporting Monty Python movies, not to mention the Rutles. But lately I've been developing more of an appreciation for Ringo. Compared to the other Beatles, his complete lack of hubris is a wonderful thing.

(Speaking of the Rutles, Georg and I agreed that the only thing that would have really improved Love is if they had included the Rutles in the musical selection. Cirque du Soleil performing to the Rutles, wouldn't that be a hoot? Goosestep Mama, oh yeah! Maybe if Neil Innes ever does another Rutles reunion show, he could call it "Rut" and have acrobats in goofy costumes.)

I heard on the radio that today is the show's opening night. Ringo, Paul, George and John's families, and George Martin are going to be there. I bet tickets for tonight's show were hard to get!

it's fundamental

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Went to the library this evening to get the next few installments in the Aubrey/Maturin series. OK, so it's not as nice as the Chapel Hill library, with their downloadable audio books and their swanky new building, but I still really like the Durham library.

Today was a bit of a bummer though, because the next book in the series (The Letter of the Marque) was checked out. And the one before, Reversal of the Medal, ended with a major cliffhanger. I finished it late last night and had been looking forward to Letter of the Marque all day. I put a hold on it and discovered that it was due back yesterday. This annoyed me mightily until I remembered that I had just finished paying the fines on my own overdue books.

Somehow I never manage to return library books on time. I start out with the best of intentions, even using the receipt as a bookmark so I'll remember when they're due. But I always forget, lose the bookmark, and am inevitably caught by surprise when I get that automated call about my overdue books. Still, I can't complain. Even with the fine it's a bargain. Four novels for $5.25! You can't get prices like that in a used bookstore.

I wonder how published authors feel about public libraries? I'd like to think they'd be all for them as a way to encourage reading. Lots of people read books from the library that they couldn't afford to buy. I'm not a huge reader but I would be far less if I had to pay retail, or even Amazon.com prices, for all my reading material. And many times I've read a book from the library and gone on to buy other books on the same topic or by the same author. On occasion I've even bought a new copy of the same book. So I would like to think that libraries are good for the book industry.

Then again, if one were a published author, one could easily look at a library as taking money out of one's pocket. On the rare occasions that I've talked to an author whose work I have read, I have definitely not mentioned that I got it from the library. But I've always wondered if the reaction would be "you go to the library? Cool!" or "You cheap bastard, why didn't you buy my book if you liked it so much?"

Either way it's a fair cop. Libraries are cool, and yet, I am a cheap bastard.

jet lag...

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...is no fun.

I didn't fully adjust to Pacific time until yesterday, and here I am back in Eastern time, reading a book and wishing I could sleep. I have melatonin but it's in the one bag I left in the car. And I'm too much of a lazy bastard to go get it.

I wish I didn't have to do anything work-related tomorrow, but at least I don't have to be functional until after 11. Even if my system is still three hours early, that's a reasonable time.

home again

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We are home! It's 35 degrees cooler and about 90% more humidity than it was in Vegas. I've never been so happy for damp air. More later; now it's time to catch up with the dogs and my email.

bpal reviews

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Yay, my April 10 BPAL order finally came in! Their turnaround had gotten much better -- I hear it was up to 2 weeks at one point. But they got hit with some administrative problems, losing their lease and several staffers at the same time, and the turnaround has reflected that. Anyway, I'm just thrilled to have gotten my order after all this time. Some quick impressions:

Baobhan Sith: Grapefruit, white tea, apple blossom and ginger. I remembered loving this, and I still do. After a couple of hours it's mostly apple blossom, which is not unpleasant, though floral isn't my favorite thing. Still, the first two hours are divine. I'm not sure why I got rid of this before. I think I was so enamoured with Embalming Fluid that I wasn't wearing anything similar, so I ended up selling off other tea scents that I'd probably wear if I tried them again now.

Phobos: Chilling white musk, lemon verbena, white grapefruit and lemongrass. People on the forum described this as smelling like lemon sherbet, but it doesn't at all to me. Lemongrass has a sharp edge that's distinct from lemon. It's a little overpowering for the first few minutes, in fact if I apply too heavily it smells like my wrist has been working in the yard and needs a shower. I guess that's the musk. That was probably way too much information, sorry. But anyway, then it calms down and the lemon verbena softens it and then it's wonderful.

Drink Me: However, this bottle was not marked `poison,' so Alice ventured to taste it, and finding it very nice, (it had, in fact, a sort of mixed flavour of cherry-tart, custard, pine-apple, roast turkey, toffee, and hot buttered toast,) she very soon finished it off. Based on the description I had no idea what this would smell like. The reality is an intense butterscotch. Very strong throw: Georg could smell it across the room. It's too much for me, but those who like buttery, sweet scents will love it.

Eat Me: Three white cakes, vanilla, and red and black currants. Cake. It smells like cake. Very soft, subtler than other cakey scents like the Monster Baits. Me likey.

best bridal party ever

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we have proof

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No time as yet to post my photos, but Lisa posted a bunch of great ones. More later!

stuff it, bridey

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With joy I delete the unwatched episodes of Whose Wedding Is It Anyway from my DVR. I enjoyed that show a lot, but enough is enough. Especially as my own planning started to get hectic, I began to feel an unreasonable resentment of all those TV brides spending more than my annual income to be pampered and hand-fed and sheltered from all possible problems.

The first season was easier to take because it had more of a range of weddings. Some high-end but some decidedly low-end, for instance one where the bride made all the food herself. (And she wasn't a Martha Stewart-style caterer either; just a young woman trying to save money.) But I guess the show decided that people were more interested in the fantasy, and the newer episodes are always about expensive weddings, except for the "budget" weddings where the narrator tut-tuts that the couple had "only" $13,000 to spend.

come fly with me

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June 16 movie: Come Fly With Me. I had high hopes for campy good fun from this early 60s sex comedy about 3 flight attendents (excuse me, air hostesses) searching the globe for rich husbands. Unfortunately the movie doesn't live up to the premise. The acting is pretty bad -- one of the flight attendants is particularly shrill -- and the plot gets rather preachy and moralistic towards the end. At least there were some good costumes and hairstyles. Maybe it was the title that made me think the movie would be so good. Just writing this has put Sinatra's version of that song into my head.

watch it

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the belle of new york

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June 17 movie: The Belle of New York. This was a musical starring Fred Astaire and Vera Ellen. While watching it Georg and I talked about what it is that makes a musical work. There are so many elements -- the songs, the dancing, the story, the dialogue, the characters -- that all have to come together. Not to mention that ineffable quality that makes a movie sparkle. I guess "chemistry" would be the best word for it. This movie didn't have it, nor several other key elements (for instance, almost all the songs were terrible), but there were a couple of great dance numbers.

those three french girls

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June 18 movie: Those Three French Girls. This movie was the 30s equivalent of a teen sex comedy: the plot is a flimsy excuse for Reginald Denny, two wise-cracking American guys and the titular three French girls to romp together. They romp in a jail, in a barn, at Denny's rich uncle's house, and at the girls' clothing shop. It's rompalicious. The movie is most noteworthy for having been rewritten by P.G. Wodehouse.

do i win my geek wings?

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This morning I installed Apache and PHP/MySQL on an XP box. And then figured out why none of my code worked any more. (I had to turn on short open tags.) And then found the Apache error log, identified and fixed a weird intermittent slowness.

There's no place like 127.0.0.1. Now I understand.

go thirteen, it's your birthday

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Today Thirteen is fifteen years old. Fourteen and a half years ago I took her to the vet for the first time, and he told me that from her teeth he could tell she was exactly 6 months old. So I counted backward and declared June 13 to be her birthday.

It may sound crazy to say this, but I never thought she'd make it this far. After Lina died in Feb 05, I didn't think Thirteen would live through the summer. But here she is, a little worse for wear but still plugging along. She's happy, and with the medication and the acupuncture, her health is better now than it was a year ago. I don't know how much longer she'll be here, but I'm grateful for every day. She's my girl.

attn mac people

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If anyone is reading this who has a Mac and has successfully installed the Windows Media Player plugin, could you contact me please? Thank you!!!

always look on the bright side

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Y'all are probably as tired of reading my complaints as I am of making them. So how about a more cheerful post.

The sewing went much better today. Thanks largely to Mod_complex' suggestion of using my teflon presser foot on the lace. Actually she suggested a rolling presser foot, which I don't have, but I do have a teflon presser foot, and that helped a lot. No more of the lace getting stuck or catching in the machine.

And while I'm looking on the bright side, the lack of stability in the lace, which was so crazy-making last night, made for the easiest easing of sleeves I've ever done. Seriously, it was great.

(If you have no idea what "easing of sleeves" means, and you care, go look at the shoulder seam of a woven shirt or jacket. The seam probably isn't totally flat; the sleeve probably stands up a little bit. That's because a set-in sleeve is bigger than the armhole it goes into. It has to be "eased": first the sleeve is gathered, and then sewn carefully so that none of the gathers get sewn into the seam. It's hard to describe it if you can't see it. But you end up with a smooth seam if you do it right, and a sleeve that puffs gently out from the armhole. If you mess up, you end up with little puckers or creases in the sleeve at the edge of the seam. I confess that I find sleeves challenging, and do mess them up more often than I'd like. So it was a relief to find it so easy with this lace.)

I got way more done tonight than I had expected. The bodice is entirely put together. Tomorrow I'll do the skirt, and then the lining on Wednesday. Then Thursday I can relax and hem while watching TV. It looks like I'm not going to end up in a crazy rush to finish sewing, like I usually do.

Best of all, a scheduling conflict later in the week that has been causing me major stress resolved itself all on its own. Talk about the bright side.

sewing

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Did not get a lot done yesterday. I thought I'd work on the dress in the morning and then take a nap in the afternoon. Instead I fell asleep around 8:30 am and slept until 11. Then sat around feeling indolent and out of sorts most of the afternoon. I did work on some techie things but didn't get anything resolved.

I started sewing late in the afternoon. That lace is really hard to work with. I like to think of myself as fairly experience at sewing, but I guess not so much as I hardly ever deal with unusual or difficult fabrics. This stuff is crazy. It shifts all over the place, and the weight of the presser foot makes it stretch out and unravel. I solved that problem by setting the presser foot on "baste," hardly any pressure, but now the lace doesn't want to move forward on its own. It gets stuck in the machine unless I pull the fabric through by hand.

All I got done was zigzagging the edges, and I was exhausted. I felt like I had been working in the garden for hours, not sitting in front of my sewing machine. So I guess it didn't matter than I started so late; I wouldn't have accomplished much more anyway.

The next step will be assembling the silk underdress, which should be much easier. I decided to go with lining instead of underlining, because I need the lining to cover the raw edges of the lace. Even with the edges being zigzagged I don't think it will hold up to wear without unraveling.

two minds

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Should I be glad the hellified storm this morning woke me up, so I could comfort the dogs through it? Or annoyed because the storm is over, I'm tired, and they're still freaked out? We can't even hear the faint rumbles of thunder anymore but Jane is still panting and trembling, and Thirteen is still pacing around.

I think I'm going to take a nice long nap this afternoon.

cutting done

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Just finished cutting the fabric for the wedding dress. Good golly that lace was hard to cut. It kept shifting around, and I also had to overcome major anxiety because it was 5 times more expensive than anything I've ever worked with before. A mistake would have been brutal. But I didn't make any mistakes; or if I did, I can't tell.

The lace has a beautiful finished edge on the selvage, and I cut the pieces sideways so I can use that finished edge instead of a hem on the sleeves and bottom of the dress. I'm a little worried about the lace stretching out as it hangs. Maybe I'll try to lay it flat rather than hanging it up, until after the wedding.

I thought I'd have time today to zigzag the edges, but cutting took way longer than expected because I didn't have enough silk. I spent all afternoon laying the pieces out different ways to try and make it all fit. I finally did get all the pieces to fit, but I had to cut corners like including the selvages (I don't like doing that, but it isn't much heavier than the main fabric, and it's only in the seam allowance so it won't show) and sometimes laying a piece slightly off the edge of the fabric so the corner of the seam allowance was cut off. Hey, I just used the expression "cut corners" figuratively and literally at the same time! Ha!

Tomorrow I have to zigzag all the pieces and sew the underdress and underlining together. That is, if I do an underlining rather than a lining. I still haven't decided. Maybe I'll see what Threads magazine has to say about the two options.

pearls or no pearls?

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I finished the sample dress last night! I'm really happy with the fit. Now I need opinions on accessories to go with the dress.

Slate.com has an advice column, Dear Prudence, that I really enjoy. Well, until recently I really enjoyed it. The author, Margo Howard (Ann Lander's daughter), left a few months ago. She was replaced by Emily Yoffe, who normally writes a Slate column where she tries and fails at unusual jobs, with hilarious results.

Surprisingly, making fun of weird jobs doesn't turn out to be great experience for writing an advice column. Normally I find her advice merely uninspired, but the most recent column included a real stinker. A woman wrote to ask for advice on how to fend off people who insist that she should have children as soon as she gets married, even though she and her fiance are in agreement in not wanting kids.

Yoffe's response was to hector the woman on how everyone is right, she really ought to have children. Yoffe's argument was totally nonsensical: she said that marriage changes everything, so the woman should change her mind about kids. Why does she need to be told to have children if putting on a wedding ring will magically cause a change of heart? Won't the desire for children happen on its own? And if it won't, then why is Yoffe trying to encourage the production of unwanted children?

The last line of the advice was what really pissed me off: "The people who know and love you best hope you and your husband have children—that alone makes it something worth considering." So anyone who gets married should have kids they don't want, because the people around them think they should? Let's try that same sentiment with other life choices:

"The people who know and love you best hope you join their fundamentalist church—that alone makes it something worth considering."

"The people who know and love you best hope you marry someone of your own race—that alone makes it something worth considering."

"The people who know and love you best hope you give up your life's dream to work in the family business—that alone makes it something worth considering."

"The people who know and love you best hope you stop being gay—that alone makes it something worth considering."

Wow, that's some great advice. On the bright side, Margo Howard is still doing an advice column.

apology to the rabbits

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A while back I posted that something was eating the petals off our gerbera daisies, and blamed the rabbits as the likely culprint. I figured rabbits are only rodent in the yard big enough to reach the daisies. Well it turns out I was totally wrong. This morning I was looking out the window at the garden, and saw a goldfinch fly into the cutting garden, settle on a zinnia, and proceed to carefully pull about 1/4 of the petals out. It looked like the goldfinch was trying to get to the seed in the center of the flower, and the petals were in the way.

I'm not sure exactly what to do. On the one hand, I like birds (especially goldfinches) and want to encourage them to stay in our yard. We've been planting with birds in mind; this fall we're even planning to put in a winter bird garden with beautyberry and other things for the birds to eat. On the other hand, it would be nice if the birds would let us enjoy the flowers first! They can have the seeds after the blossoms have faded. I guess it will be better when more of the flowers are in bloom. Then there will be enough for all of us to enjoy. In the meantime, we refilled the thistle feeder in hopes that the goldfinches will find that easier pickings.

On the bright side, the birds don't seem to have discovered the blueberries. Two of the bushes have fruit, and it's starting to ripen on one of them! Yesterday Georg and I shared the first few ripe berries. I must say, if I have to identify the one moment when I could think of myself as a gardener for real, that would be it. Eating blueberries that I just picked from my own garden. Wow.

We didn't do as much planting this weekend as in previous weeks, but we got a few good things. A creamy light yellow stokes aster (I thought they only came in blue, but the guy at Messenbrinks told us they also have purple and multicolored), a pink yarrow (again I thought they only came in one color: yellow), several gazanias, and a couple of things I'm really excited about: first, a hybrid echinacea with a deep bright magenta color. This is from the same place where we got the razzmatazz double echinacea a few weeks ago. I asked the guy where he gets such unusual varieties and he said he buys them from a European hybridizer. Second, a Chinese foxglove. Which is a shade plant that looks just like foxglove, but isn't digitalis, and therefore isn't toxic. We love foxglove, but all our shady areas are inside the fence where the dogs could get them. So we were resigned to never planting it. But now we can! I put it under the oak tree and I must say it looks nice there.

We also admired but did not buy an unusual rudbeckia (black eyed susan) with white/blue stems that grow 7 feet tall! We didn't want to buy it unless we knew where we could put it. As I said to Georg at the time, I can imagine gardens where this would look great; I just can't imagine it in our garden.

When we got home we looked around the yard and figured out a great place for it: over at the far side of the yard, behind the blueberries, up against the neighbor's fence. There's nothing going on over there and I don't go to that part of the yard often, and so it gets weedy and overgrown. I've been wanting for awhile to turn that area into garden space and plant it up with something that would be pretty from a distance, and wouldn't require much care. Which sounds a lot like 7 foot tall rudbeckia to me!

Unfortunately I don't think we'll have time before Vegas to clear that area of weeds, dig up the soil, add nice soil, and get the rudbeckia planted. I think next weekend I'm going to ask the guy if I can buy a couple of them and have him keep them for a few weeks. Rudbeckia is a tough cookie, I think it will be OK to plant them in July.

I also admired the gardenias, which are in bloom now. Unfortunately I know exactly where I want to plant a gardenia and the spot is currently planted up with sunflowers. So we'll have to wait until fall for that.

Anyway, we got all our purchases into ground, and finally planted the hardy amaryllis we had bought last week. Georg dug a new bed for it in a semi-shady spot where I think it will be happy. The only bummer is that it was rootbound, and I had such a hard time getting it out of the pot I knocked one of the two blossoms off. Dang! Well, on the bright side it had lots of new shoots in the pot, so I hope next year we'll get more than just one flower stem.

how to marry a millionaire

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June 1 movie: How to Marry a Millionaire. Lauren Bacall, Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe star as three New York women trying to find rich husbands. I remembered enjoying this movie on previous viewings, but this time I kept comparing it unfavorably to Designing Woman. None of these women have lives aside from searching for a husband. I suppose that applying today's standards to gender roles in a fifty year old movie is a guarantee that I won't enjoy the movie. But they have to at least give me something to go on.

Oh, also Monroe wears an absolutely ridiculous pair of glasses, and somehow manages to make them look absolutely adorable.

i hate kids

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I don't really hate kids. I just hate the kids across the street, who have been having a loud party all evening, and are now setting off mass quantities of fireworks. Really loud and annoying. On the bright side, Janey doesn't seem upset about it. I thought she'd be freaked out but she was only mildly agitated, and then decided the fireworks weren't worth her attention. And at least the kids chose to do their fireworks right after a rainstorm, when everything is wet.

Perennials are starting to bloom in the garden. The persian cornflower is beautiful, like a lavendar thistle. There's a big rudbeckia and a white shasta daisy, and another daisy called "sneezeweed" with a big center and tiny round petals. Also a healthy stand of red hot poker, and a purple mullein that was supposed to get really tall and bloom in fall, but to our surprise is blooming now. Most of these we had never seen the flowers before, because they weren't in bloom when we bought them last fall or early in spring.

Due to the heat wave the vegetable garden is starting to take off. We have tiny tomatoes on the Early Girl and Super Sweet 100 plants, and yesterday we had 2 blossoms on the zucchini! They were both male flowers, so no zucchini yet. But still, I never expected to see blossoms already.

Georg took some photos of the flower garden, including a particularly nice one of the freesias. Which I had planted in the cutting garden, but they turn out to have such a strong scent that I'm not sure I want to cut them for the house. He also posted his photos from the Houston art car weekend, including a good shot of me me me under black light.

june bride

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June 1 movie: June Bride. With less than three weeks before the big event, I think it's time for some wedding-themed movies. This is one of my favorites. Bette Davis and Robert Montgomery play old flames who reconnect while reporting on a small-town society wedding for Home Life magazine. (She's the magazine editor, he's a recently demoted journalist.) The supporting cast includes Mary Wickes, who I love always.

Davis and Montgomery have great chemistry. Davis is especially wonderful letting Montgomery know that in the years after he dumped her, she discovered she doesn't need him anymore. Her confidence is sexy when she gets in close and says "If we're going to mean anything to each other again, it will be on my terms, not yours." Too bad the ending doesn't fulfill that premise. Still, forget the last five minutes and it's wonderful. I love the dialogue when they spar together. Here's a typical exchange:

Montgomery: "I was walking down Madison Avenue, feeling wonderful because I had been with you. Then I had a terrible realization."
Davis: "That you forgot to borrow cab fare from me."
Montgomery: "No, I remembered that."

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